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The Clash – Live in Amsterdam: The Impossible Mission Tour 1981 (Viva Zapata Records V2008)

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Live in Amsterdam:  The Impossible Mission Tour 1981 (Viva Zapata Records V2008)

London Calling/The Leader/Somebody Got Murdered/White Man In Hammersmith Palais/The Guns of Brixton/Lightning Strikes/The Magnificent Seven/Ivan Meets G.I. Joe/Charlie Don’t Surf/Bankrobber/Train In Vain/ Career Opportunities/Clampdown/I Fought The Law (46:36)

When the Clash were at the top of their game, they could go toe to toe with any of the greats of rock and this disk stands as the proof.  Recorded when “Sandinista” was still current, and relying heavily on material from three-record set, the concert here, while short, is dynamic, punchy and very nicely recorded.   The band’s sense of dynamism comes from the tempos, which seem almost universally faster than the album versions, even “Career Opportunities” which comes across just as snappily and ferociously as their first album if such a thing can be imagined. 

The extra urgency which pervades all the songs with this faster approach gives the concert a drive which is hard to resist.  Adding to the value is the recording, which is very high quality. Unlike another recent Viva Zapata recording of the boys’ concert in Boston, this disk is almost perfectly balanced, without domination by the drums and bass.  The mid-range is right there, with Joe’s rhythm and Mick’s lead playing audible at all times and both singers were in top form this night, hardly a flat note between them (again, a real problem with the Boston concerts a year later). 

This praise seems a little odd since the Sandinista material was not uniformly their best, and relied too much on reggae and other styles but the strength and leave it all on the stage approach overcomes any weakness in the material. Sadly, this probably represents the last pinnacle for the group. Relatively soon after this concert, Topper Headon’s ferocious drumming was gone, and Mick and Joe split for good about a year later. But sometimes, the fire burns brightest just before it goes out and whoever did such a good job capturing this fire did us all a huge favor.

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The Clash - Live in Amsterdam: The Impossible Mission Tour 1981 (Viva Zapata Records V2008), 2.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating

4 Comments

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  1. Avatar of mick721
    mick721 says
    October 18, 2013, 1:47 pm

    i’m very interested in this dvd the clash in Amsterdam also interested in the rolling stones brixton academy 1995 remastered please send pay -pal to slickmickm@hotmail.com–thank you

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  2. Avatar of lug_nutz6
    lug_nutz6 says
    May 2, 2009, 4:50 pm

    Thanks for the info strummerville. Too bad it sounds like it’s incomplete. But I figured, with it being a single disc. Still may add it to the collection. Would love to see more complete Clash shows in the future.

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  3. Avatar of strummerville
    April 29, 2009, 8:14 am

    The Clash always played their songs faster live than on record, with “White Riot” being the most notable example (although it’s not featured on this CD). This is definitely not the complete show, I’m pretty sure that “Poice & Thieves” and “Complete Control” are missing. I’ll double-check that. (Oh, and by the way, “Sandinista” is a phenomenal album – described by Joe on release as “an album for the fans”, so it’s no surprise that not everybody got it, especially in the US… where audiences were slower to catch on).

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  4. Avatar of lug_nutz6
    lug_nutz6 says
    April 28, 2009, 4:26 pm

    Does anybody know if this is the complete show? My other question, if anybody could give some insight, is if the fast tempo is the result of the speed being incorrect? If hoping not, as I would love to add this to my collection…

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